Togo’s is in the midst of a major upgrade—from an updated logo to remodeled stores to a better sandwich-making process. In addition to all these exciting changes, the brand is also rethinking how technology fits into the new and improved Togo’s 3.0.
“As a brand, we believe in offering the highest levels of ease and convenience,” said Renjie Wang, Vice President of Information Technology at Togo’s. “We live in an age where customers expect the ability to fully customize the food they order. At the same time, we also want to match their expectations for ordering and receiving their food—whether that’s in-person, on a kiosk, through third-party delivery, on the website or through the mobile app.”
Since Wang moved from a consulting role to his current full-time leadership position with Togo’s, he’s begun tackling everything from customer-facing technology to data analytics. He’s passionate about improving the guest experience through the thoughtful use of customizable technology.
“It’s my belief that technology actually will improve intimacy with the brand,” said Wang. “We will always have that personal touch through our guest service. Additionally, customers will be able to dictate how and when they want to be communicated with. This is where tech comes in: We will provide an array of different channels to choose from and customize. This will provide a lot of value to the Togo’s experience.”
Ordering in Person
Never fear, techno-pessimists: In-person ordering isn’t going by the wayside anytime soon, and certainly not in Togo’s 3.0. The brand prioritizes customer experience and personal touches, after all.
“We want to make sure we properly support customers in all channels,” said Wang. “For customers who prefer to speak with a human being, they can casually chat with the cashier while figuring out what to order while our technology is positioned to make taking the order accurate and easy.”
New Ordering Kiosks
The truth is, sometimes customers don’t want to interact with another person. They just want their food. That’s where Togo’s new kiosks come in. Plus, many users find it easier to fully customize their orders this way.
“Kiosks save time and the customization process is more appealing while also less cumbersome,” said Wang. “Pretty much everybody is used to using devices these days. You can take your time to customize your order to your liking.”
Wang emphasized that Togo’s 3.0 positions its kiosks as an option to add value—not a compulsory method for ordering.
“Kiosks are no longer a new technology, but I feel that proper implementation is important to how a customer will adapt,” he said. “If we force the customer to use an inconvenient or cumbersome technology as the only way to interact with our brand, we are not positioned for success. Instead, we want our technology to drive value—for customers who are frequently in stores and know their favorite orders, they can load reward points and customize pretty much every aspect of their sandwich.”
Integrating Technology with the Kitchen
As Wang orchestrates an entirely new technological landscape for Togo’s 3.0, all this updated customer-facing technology must be integrated with the kitchen.
“So, I ordered my sandwich with seven modifiers—now I need the store to produce this sandwich exactly how I ordered it,” said Wang. “We are looking to partners from a POS and integration perspective to better translate from the ordering side to the production side in order to deliver a consistent experience for the customer.”
After all, no matter how extensively technology can drive operations, only a real-life person can make a Togo’s sandwich.
Improved Operations for Franchisees
Togo’s is working closely with franchisees to explore how these new systems can set them up to better serve and engage with customers.
“Franchisees are really good at building in-store relationships,” said Wang. “A big part of our focus is to enhance our outside sales functionality to bring in more customers—not just into our stores, but also into our digital presence. This is a commitment we’ve made with our franchisees in order to broaden their revenue channels.”
It’s all part of Togo’s strategy to keep up with the times in order to keep customers coming back.
“We live in a world where customer behavior is going through a major shift,” said Wang. “We are embracing that change and building out functionality to help each store better execute orders, capture audiences and build relationships.”